Is Eli elite? According to the polls, not so much.
As per the routine, the NFL Network gets input from players around the league on the rankings. Eagles defensive end Trent Cole, who has chased after Manning for the last seven years, had the following praise for the Giants' signal-caller.
"Eli, he’s become a great quarterback," said Cole. "I have to give him that. He gets the ball downfield, gets it to his receivers, and he’s on-target. Nobody can say otherwise because I heard a lot of people talk about, ‘Should he be here?’ He’s up there with the top five quarterbacks. You’ve got to put him there."
Manning received similar praise from another opposing pass rusher, this time in the form of the Redskins' Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who mentioned it's Manning's ability to perform in the biggest of moments is what separates him from the pack.
"He just always seems to make the big throw at the big moment," Kerrigan said. "He doesn’t give up on a play, and that’s what is impressive about him."
The sixth quarterback to land on the list, Manning was ranked ahead of Colin Kaepernick (81), Matthew Stafford (76), fellow '04 draft class member Ben Roethlisberger (61), rookie phenom Russell Wilson (51) and Cam Newton (46).
Manning did suffer a down year statistically, throwing 26 touchdowns compared to 15 interceptions and 1,000 fewer yards than he did in the season prior. In last year's edition of the 'Top Players of 2012,' Manning made his debut on the list, landing the No. 31 spot.
Other quarterbacks yet to be revealed on the list include the usual "elite" suspects -- Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning -- as well Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and possibly even Robert Griffin III.
Of course this ranking is based solely on the players' production during the 2012 season, otherwise this might turn into a Hall of Fame resume debate in which Manning's two Lombardi Trophies have to be factored into the equation.
In addition, Manning is the third member of the Giants to crack the list. Last week, wide receiver Victor Cruz and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul were announced as the No. 58 and 55 spots, respectively.
Based on Manning's down year and the Giants failing to make the post-season following their Super Bowl victory, was the No. 43 spot justified? Let us hear your thoughts, Giants fans.
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